This is why people are planning to ring bells on their doorsteps on Christmas Eve - and how to join in

Thousands of people have signed up to say they’ll stand on their doorstep ringing a bell this Christmas Eve, as part of a campaign to fight loneliness.

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The campaign, which started on Facebook in October and now has hundreds of thousands of members, will see people take to their doorsteps at 6pm all over the country, to ring a bell for two minutes.

Like the Clap for Carers campaign - which sought to show national solidarity and support for NHS, care and other essential workers - it is hoped that this collective show of support for people who are lonely will bring some festive good spirit at a difficult time.

Though the campaign was set up when an easing of restrictions over the festive period was planned for many in the UK, it has taken on even greater significance in light of the new rules.

‘A message of hope and togetherness’

Mary Beggs-Reid from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, set up the Facebook group with the hope of getting people on her street, or “maybe Harrogate at best” to take part.

But within weeks the group has grown, and Mrs Beggs-Reid has even spoken with the Prime Minister about the campaign.

Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds have said they will be taking part from 10 Downing Street.

Speaking to the Press Association, Mrs Begg-Reid said, “We didn’t even think we’d get our street, our town, maybe Harrogate at best, so to get the Prime Minister as well doing it is just wonderful.

“It was a simple idea to show that even at a time when we can’t all be with each other we can still do something that sends a message of hope and togetherness."

She added, “It was such an unexpected email to get, I had to keep checking that it wasn’t spam!”

How to take part

Although many people have signed up to the Facebook group and announced that they’ll take part, you can still join in, even if you’re not on social media.

Members of the public will be standing on their front doorsteps at 6pm on Christmas Eve for two minutes ringing a bell, or using a phone to play a ringing bells sound effect.

You can find ringing bell loops easily on YouTube, or download an app.